Book Creator + student designed curriculum = iTunes U

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If you let the students design the curriculum, you might just inspire them to get competitively creative!

Jodie DeinhammerJodie Deinhammer teaches 12th grade Anatomy and Physiology in a 1:1 iPad high school in the Dallas, Texas suburb of Coppell. She has been teaching science for over 16 years.

Jodie is the Texas Medical Association Science Educator of the Year for 2013 and hold several district awards including the Principals Award of Excellence and Outstanding CHS Teacher.

My students were the ones that found Book Creator

This year, I allowed my students to design the curriculum for our class.  They chose the topics they were interested in during the first week of school and we organized them into six major themes.  Most topics revolved around health and wellness, and we discussed how we could make a positive impact on society while learning something at the same time.

Through much brainstorming, they decided to develop a course in iTunes U (where I currently house my entire Anatomy and Physiology course).  They wanted to develop a class that could potentially teach elementary aged students to make better choices regarding their health.

Screenshot from iTunes U on iPad

As we approached the first unit in the iTunes U course, Health Without Borders, students brainstormed ideas of what they actually wanted to create to teach their topic of choice.  Some wanted to make videos, some wanted to create interactive labs, and some wanted to write books.

We spent some time in the App Store and online just searching for  what creation apps would work best for us.  They found Book Creator, and downloaded the free version.

Health Without Borders project

I think Book Creator is now one of my favourite creation apps!  Several of my Health Without Borders project groups are using Book Creator to develop their final product to teach elementary kids health concepts.

They were pretty excited to get to use the new drawing option, as many found it difficult to find free for re-use images in Creative Commons or Wikimedia Commons  that were appropriate for their topic and target age group.

They found the app very easy to work with and really had no questions for me at all.  They loved that they could AirDrop the book between group members so different people could contribute easily.  The voiceover option is also simple to use and works well with just the microphone on the iPad.  I was so impressed with their final product!

Screenshot from book

This group drew their pictures by hand – scanned them in with Cam Scanner – imported into Comic Maker App to give distressed look to images and add text – imported into Book Creator as images – added voice over – exported as ePub file.

Another screenshot from book

This group drew their pictures in the free version of SketchbookX – took a screenshot to camera roll – imported images into Book Creator – added voice over – exported as ePub file.

These books are based on the topic “You Are What You Eat” and focused on how food is digested in the body.  If you want to see the entire book, several books are published in their Health Without Borders iTunes U course.

Our course now has over 20,000 subscribers so my students are pretty motivated to be published.  They are competitive in trying to create a unique project that teaches the concept while engaging their audience.  Book Creator allows them to easily “AppSmash” to create something above and beyond my expectations!  I can’t wait to see what they submit for the next sections of our course, Heart Smart.

What next?

I plan to continue this project throughout the year in the Health Without Borders course.  I have at least one group that plans to combine their books into a larger book at the end of the year and publish to the iBook Store.

I also really like the Global iBook projects I have seen recently.  I love the idea of my kids co-authoring a book with students from all over the world.  There are so many possibilities in a global classroom when students have voice and choice in their learning and are given the creation tools, such as Book Creator, that allow them to develop outstanding, authentic work.

Don’t be the only viewer of your students work – publish it and share what they are doing.  Make them compete for publication.  Make them want to produce quality work by giving them an authentic audience.

Jodie Deinhammer
Anatomy and Physiology teacher
Coppell High School, Dallas, Texas
iclassroomcoppell.blogspot.co.uk
@jdeinhammer

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About Dan Kemp

Dan K joined Red Jumper Studio in May 2013 as the Marketing Manager. Dan's background is in the public sector and he is an expert in making the most of social media and managing digital campaigns.

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